Huge Florida Middle grounds and Beyond Catch

Finally the long wait is over. June 1, 2018, American red snapper and gag grouper season opens in our Gulf of Mexico. Huge question! Where should we go? Well, Central Florida's 460 square mile Florida Middle Grounds is now a prime target for many who seek the very aggressive, fun to catch, great to eat, American red snapper, and the are you man/woman enough to force me out of my rocks home, gag grouper. Want even bigger fish? The deeper water beyond the Grounds is home to some real trophies. This is our Florida, Florida the Fishing Capital of the World. The opportunities for 'Huge Catches' are endless.
Friday, June 1, the Florida Fisherman ll leaves Hubbard's Marina, Madeira Beach, Florida, on a 44 hour mission, a mission to catch fish, a lot of fish. Will it be a, 'Huge Florida Middle Grounds and Beyond Catch? Only one way to find out... join us on the deck of the Florida as we find out together. We will be fishing just after the full of the moon, prime time!
As an example of what to expect, take a look at Mr. Sumrall's prized American red snapper:

The Florida Middle Grounds and beyond is a long ways from beautiful Madeira Beach, Florida. No problem! Mr. Sumrall is not only an expert at catching trophy red snapper, but trolling for kings. Ed's long time friend, Mr. Dan Jackman, is so pound of his fishing partner. Watch Ed fight the monster king 2:52 minutes into the video at the end of this report:

Hungry? Jersey Girl just served the best meat ball sandwich in the entire universe. What makes this masterpiece so special is Tampa's signature Cuban bread topped off with melted cheese. OK! Let's top off our meal with something sweet. Nothing better than a "Packed full of peanuts, Snickers satisfies" candy bar. This very special chocolate treat was created by Mr. Frank Mars. Mr. Mars named the Snickers bar after one of his family's favorite horses. The original bar sold for 5 cents. Snickers were first sold under the name "Marathon Bars" in the United Kingdom, they are now sold worldwide under the Snickers name. In different countries the formula may vary, but the taste remains relatively constant. Mr. Larry Miller just returned from Canada with a 4 pack of Snickers made in Canada. The ingredients are different. Which is better? Mr. Justin Perlow, a Florida Fisherman ll regular, has been a school lunch room manager for well over a decade. He is an expert on taste. Watch Justin's 'taste-test' 3:31 minutes into the video:

Justin is also an expert at teaching fish who the boss really is. Think this is a large Strawberry grouper?

Wait till you see this man of the sea go to work on American red snapper, Red grouper, and the highly prized Scamp grouper.
Another long time friend, Mr. Brett King, shows us how to catch gag grouper:

Looks like the red grouper are also hungry:

Never to be forgotten, the hard fighting, fast, Blackfin tuna:


  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain
    For many these overnight trips deep into the very heart of our Gulf of Mexico socializing with old and meeting new friends is every bit as important as fishing, or eating. Mr. Rodrick Mack is not only a dear friend, but a dedicated family man. Wife, Wanda, and Rod have three sons, three young men to be proud of. Ryan is seven years old, Joeylen ten, and Bryon seven:

    Roderick knows how to make his wife, and sons, proud:

    And, speaking of proud:

    The night bite was sensational. Wonder what Saturday morning will bring?

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain
    Saturday is looking good:

    Ed brings out the heavy gear:

    And for good reason. That looks like a jack-pot winner:

    If it swims, Ed can catch it:

    The gag bite is hot:

    Speaking of hot is to speak of Jersey Girl's hot off the grill pan cakes and hickory smoked bacon:
    Our, 'Huge Florida Middle Grounds and Beyond Catch' is turning into a major catch:

    Ryan carefully records every fish. We are getting close, very close, to completely limiting-out on red snapper. We will not keep over our two day limit:

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain

    This is turning into the catch of a life-time, an adventure never to be forgotten:

    Justin knows a lot more than 'Snickers':

    The 'fights' have been going on all night Friday as well as all day Saturday:

    We are proud, very proud:

    Ever see a shrimp boat up close? We have:

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain
    We now have well over 2,000 pounds of snapper and grouper, and the 'bite' continues. Ever wonder why Florida is recognized as the Fishing Capital of the World? Wonder no more:

    Good thing Justin has that 'Snickers' energy":

    Talk about good taste. Justin knows the best of the best:
    First mate, Will, holds what we think is a world record Lionfish. Guess who caught it? You guested it... Ed:

    Saturday evening. The Florida's number one huge fish box has been filled, iced down, and sealed ever since Saturday morning. Number two has just enough room left for ice:
    We are wore-out, fish catching, tired, and ever so hungry. Let's visit 'Jersey Girl' before hitting our comfortable bunks for the long ride home:

    Sunday morning. Mr. Mack, Wanda and the boys can be proud, very proud:

    Talk about a mountain of fish:

    It's so good to see our younger generation interested in fishing, they are our future:

    The American red jack pot winner hit the scales at 15.0 pounds, grouper, 36.2 pounds, and mangrove snapper 9.5 pounds:

    Our Captain, Captain Garett Hubbard, is as proud of us as we are of him. We are family!

    Will it be a, 'Huge Florida Middle Grounds and Beyond Catch'? You had better believe it!

    Catch the action in this short, action packed, video of our trip: 

    Bob Harbison
    Florida Outdoor Writers Association

  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 4,618 Captain
    Great pics
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain
    Thanks!  What an honor sharing with our F/S Family! 
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 2,967 Moderator
    Gags and ARS, the world is right again. Good stuff, Bob.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain
    Thanks!  Coming from you that really means something to me. 
  • TennesseeDaveTennesseeDave Posts: 308 Deckhand
    barrel o fish and a barrel o laughs
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain
    Dave, when can we expect to CU on the Florida. You have been missed! 
  • limitlesslimitless Posts: 562 Officer
    That is some fine fishing.  Fantastic catch of ARS and Groupers.

    Since the various states have been granted the authority to manage state and federal waters for Red Snapper for 2018 and '19.  Alabama has a season running from 1 June only on weekends for 47 days and FL is doing a season from 11 June for 40 straight days.  Where are the Middle Grounds located?  Is that area outside the 200 mile EEC, or in federal waters?  If inside , what state's season would govern it?  Just trying to understand how this works.  Thanks

    The Snook & Gamefish Foundation now part of Angler Action Program:

    Dedicated to Conservation and Education.  Please check us out.

    Angler Action Program: IAngler app trip log on your phone

  • limitlesslimitless Posts: 562 Officer
    Never mind; I forgot about party and charter boats opening June 1 with a GOM Federal Reef permit.

    The Snook & Gamefish Foundation now part of Angler Action Program:

    Dedicated to Conservation and Education.  Please check us out.

    Angler Action Program: IAngler app trip log on your phone

  • harbisonharbison Posts: 2,943 Captain
    The Florida Middle Grounds begins around 80-90 miles NW of Madeira Beach. It's a big , over 400 square mile, area. Average water depth 125 feet.  Well inside the 200 mile EEC. The MG is under the control of the feds. Not exactly sure about other states. In Florida we have a 40 straight day recreational season, and, via sector separation, a 51 day season for federal permitted head/charter boats. Permitted boats season began June 1.  
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